Author: Jan Martin
On the Web
since 1994
Updated January 8, 2004

 

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Groom your grown-up Springer. Step by step with photos.


Characteristics and Temperament

The ARIEL crewThe English Springer Spaniel is a dog characterized by long, drooping ears, a medium to long coat, a happily wagging tail, and a penchant for flushing (or "springing") birds. Females are around 19" tall at the withers, weighing around 40 lbs.., and males around 20", weighing about 50 lbs. They may be black and white, liver and white, or either combination with tan points (tri-colored), with or without ticking (freckles).

Since the 1930's, Springers have developed in the United States and Canada into dogs bred mostly for their hunting ability, known as "field-bred" Springers, (Field Spaniels are a different breed), and dogs bred with attention to a written breed standard, known as show or "bench" Springers. The breed standard does NOT separate the two types. The standard does not demand any pattern of markings, but most commonly, both field and show Springers have dark ears and head, white muzzle and a white blaze. Show dogs commonly have a dark blanket and less ticking and a fairly long coat, while field lines may be almost completely white, have a shorter coat, and be more heavily freckled. (Drop in here if you want to meet some show dogs). Both types have docked tails, though field dogs may be left longer with a "flag" on the end. Since field Springers are bred for their hunting ability and soundness, rather than a written description, there is greater variety in style among these dogs.

Chelan's Summer Arbor

Springers are cheerful dogs with a sense of humor. They are affectionate, good with children and noisy with intruders. However, they would probably follow an ax-murderer home if he gave them a pet and a treat. They are "reactors," but most don't bark without a reason. English Springers make excellent house-pets and can thrive with moderate exercise, though some Springers can be high energy dogs. They are actively represented in obedience, agility, fly-ball , tracking, search and rescue, and therapy, as well as being fine hunters and companions. While some Springers from show lines might be acceptable in the field, serious field-trialers look to those who breed competition dogs.

AFC/FC Armadale Dan, MH

Similarly, most field-bred English Springers would probably not do well in the show ring. However, with good socialization and some training, either type of Springer can become a wonderful companion. For more information, visit the ESS Field Trial and Information page.

Springers are also surprisingly versatile. This picture is from Alaska during the 1920's.

photo owned by  Jan Martin
Who IS that guy in front?

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Exercise

Most English Springers can be at home on a standard 50X100 city lot's back yard, as long as they have a chance at some daily exercise. While they might prefer five acres and their own pond, many Springers thrive in a city setting. After the puppy matures, brisk walks, bicycling, or ball-chasing can keep the Springer in excellent shape. The amount of exercise a Springer needs varies widely for individual dogs. Remember, couch potatoes need to move, too!

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Grooming

Groom your puppy! Complete with pictures!

Groom your grown-up Springer! Step by step directions!

Ch Telltale Royal StuartLong-haired breeds do take some care. Clipping for pet/field dogs can be confined to the inside of the ears and around the tail. This makes it easier to keep both areas clean. Hair must also be trimmed from between the pads on the feet; without this care, the feet can splay, and the dog loses traction on slick surfaces. Nails should be trimmed often. Show people trim them weekly; some pet owners can go up to four weeks without much problem. Teeth should be brushed, as in all dogs, with a soft brush and "doggie" toothpaste. *See the FAQ on general dog health. *

The coat on most Springers has longer guard-hairs on top with a soft, dense undercoat, depending on seasonal conditions. All dogs lose coat at some point during the year, and the hair they do lose is long enough that it's pretty easy to sweep or vacuum. Extreme stress or health problems can lead to excessive shedding. Daily brushing will help keep things under control. Some commercial groomers take clippers to the body-coat of client dogs. If your dog's coat is clipped, it will not grow back the way it was before clipping, but will come in fuzzy. It takes a VERY long time for feathering and ears to re-grow if they are cut. If possible, just even up the bottom of the leg-feathers so they don't drag the ground; otherwise, leave the legs and ears alone except for combing. Grooming the show Springer takes about an hour. Experienced groomers use a #10 blade on the tops of the ears, the throat, and the top of the head. They use thinning shears to control the body coat. Do NOT expect a commercial groomer to know how to trim a show-dog. Get help from someone currently competing.

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Resources

 

Pedigree pages: Download a 9000+ dog database of English Springers in Excel format or as a .pdg file. These files are NOT annotated with titles, colors, even sex, but the file still should save many hours of typing.
Download a FREE "hugware"software program that allows you to print your own pedigrees. It works with .pdg files.

Breeder Referral

The AKC Breeder Referral program's number is 1-900-407-PUPS(7877). This will give you the name of a local dog club's Breeder Referral Representative, who can supply the dog buyer with a list of sources. There is a small charge for this call.

The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association handles Breeder Referral and will put you in touch with responsible breeders who are members from around the country. These breeders pledge to uphold the Guidelines for Responsible Breeders as put forth by the ESSFTA.

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Clubs

The English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association is the parent club of the breed. Local clubs are members of ESSFTA. Here is a list of Specialty clubs, interested mostly in performance events like agility and obedience as well as in putting on dog shows. There are also many English Springer Field clubs around the country. Here's the list of field clubs that have their own pages on the web. Tons of information and a way to get involved! AKC has a list of ALL the clubs here.


Rescue

National English Springer Spaniel Rescue Call 1-800-921-1047 for information.

English Springer Rescue America coordinates efforts in the US and Canada.

The Lost Girls

Original photo by Susan Smith

  English Springer Rescue Association (ESRA) is an all-volunteer group of individuals with a love and passion for the English Springer Spaniel, working together to provide nationwide assistance for Springers who are unwanted, abused, and abandoned. ESRA's purpose is to provide an adoption referral service to assist shelters and animal control facilities nationwide in the rehoming of impounded Springers. Referral assistance is also available to those owners who can no longer care for their Springers and have a sincere need to place them in new homes. Visit their site for a complete listing of US Springer rescue groups.

 

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English Springer FAQ & photos copyright Jan Martin

Comments? Please contact Jan Martin, ariel@ariel-ess.com. Drop by Ariel's website!